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Pro-Test: standing up for science
Pro-Test: Standing Up For Science
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Archives for: October 2008, 05

05/10/08

Permalink 09:51:21 pm, by Tom, 269 words, 1855 views   English (UK)
Categories: News

Pro-Test welcomes recommendations on recording animal suffering

Pro-Test welcomes the recommendations made this week by the Animal Procedures Committee and Lab Animals Science Association working group in their final report on gathering data on the severity of animal procedures retrospectively.

At present the statistics on animal suffering published by the Home Office are based on estimates of the suffering that animals may experience during the procedures that are made when scientists apply for a licence to undertake a procedure, with projects that are approved being categorised as mild, moderate or severe. Home Office examiners need to consider all the potential animal welfare implications of a procedure when considering whether to grant a licence. Since Home Office regulations require that procedures do not exceed the severity limits stated in a licence there is unsurprisingly a tendency to stress the "worst-case" scenario. Research undertaken by the working group found that the actual suffering experienced by animals during experiments is often significantly less than that estimated in the licences.

The working group has proposed that the adverse effects, if any, experienced by every animal should be recorded and later made public in the annual statistics on animal use published by the Home Office. We hope that the Home Office will soon approve pilot studies to evaluate the scheme recommended by the working group, and if successful implement the scheme nationwide. The availability of accurate data on the actual suffering experienced by laboratory animals will help to inform both the public debate and discussions of any future changes to the systems used to assess severity, and will also help to prioritize areas where work is needed to further reduce suffering.

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